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Why Virtual Meetings are Here to Stay

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Virtual Meetings Are Here To Stay

The workplace is changing and as a result so, too, are workplace meetings.

Today, there’s a growing awareness that too many employees spend too much of their time in unproductive meetings. To avoid falling into this trap and to make more cost-effective use of your employees' time, go beyond the usual best practices to ensure your meeting is organized and run properly. These days, it's imperative that your meeting is also easily accessible no matter if participants are in one room, on the road or working from a remote office.

Meeting technology like ShoreTel Connect allows companies to include the right people in meetings, even when they work remotely or are on the road. Rather than juggle schedules and spend extra money on travel, participants can use ShoreTel Connect to click into a video conference from their desktop, tablet or smartphone, removing barriers to making their voice heard and reinforcing their importance to the team.

Virtual Meetings Are on the Rise

New technology offerings are making virtual meetings more popular than ever before. As early as 2010, the use of virtual meetings had grown at 80% of the companies surveyed by Carson Wagonlit Travel’s Travel Management Institute. Video conferences and web-based meetings were the most popular platforms. More recently, eWeek reported that more than 30% of business meetings include at least one participant who joined through conference-call or Web conferencing tools.

Those trends aren’t going to change. Various sources say between 30% and 45% of employers have some kind of virtual teams at work today, and advances in technology and security – as well as employee concerns for work-life balance and other lifestyle factors – will encourage more organizations to allow for increased levels of virtual work. That means more people joining meetings through some kind of technical connection.

New Tools for a New Generation of Workers

It's no secret that younger workers (i.e., Millennials) have a high comfort level with technology. Clicking into a meeting through a smartphone or tablet is no big deal for these digital natives. After all, they’re used to texting as a primary means of communications with friends and family, and have put notable pressure on their employers to adopt the types of communications they’re most comfortable with. And, as the employment market tightens and more Baby Boomers retire, addressing this new generation’s preferences will become increasingly important.

Of course, meetings are meetings, and the leaders of virtual get-togethers have to work hard to make sure everyone’s engaged, wherever they happen to be sitting. After all, how can you tell if someone’s doodling when they’re calling in with their smartphone? In addition to following the usual best practices for productive meetings, make sure you have a technical solution that aligns seamlessly with they way today’s workers work.

What's your business meeting style? Take the ShoreTel Business Meeting Challenge to find out if you’re a Meeting Maverick, Meeting Multitasker, or Meeting Maximizer.